How to Turn a Loss into a Win

From John C. Maxwell.
What an exciting project I got to do last year! For the first time ever, I got to adapt and rewrite one of my books for a new audience: Teens.
The book is Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens, and it comes out this month – on February 24. Created just for teen readers, this book is designed to inspire and challenge them to see setbacks as opportunities – to grow, learn, and improve. Featuring new stories about teens and adults who overcame adversity and mistakes, like teenage Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousufzai and Iron Man actor Robert Downey, Jr, it also provides application exercises and journaling opportunities.
Here’s just a sample of the content of Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens. I believe it can be a good resource for the teens and even preteens in your life.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t allowed to fail? Like your parents and teachers expected you to meet extremely high standards no matter what—even if it didn’t seem possible?
Or have you ever lost at something that you wanted to win? Felt stupid when you were wrong? Wished you could have a major “do-over”?
And what happens when you do mess up? Do you feel hopeless, like you can never recover from the mistake?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then this book is for you. If you’re ever going to lose—and you are, because everyone does—then why not put a positive spin on it? How do you do that? By learning from it. A loss isn’t totally a loss if you learn something from it.
Of course, that’s not always easy to do. In a favorite Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown walks away from Lucy after a base- ball game, head down, totally dejected.
“Another ball game lost! Good grief!” Charlie moans. “I get tired of losing. Everything I do, I lose!”
“Look at it this way, Charlie Brown,” Lucy replies. “We learn more from losing than we do from winning.”
“That makes me the smartest person in the world!” replies Charlie.
Lucy’s advice makes a lot of sense, but not everyone learns from his losses. A loss doesn’t turn into a lesson unless we work hard to make it so. Losing gives us a chance to learn something, but many people do not seize that opportunity. And when they don’t, that’s when losing hurts.
It’s hard to learn when we’re feeling down, because then we have to do things that aren’t natural. It’s hard to smile when we are not happy. It is difficult to respond with a good attitude when we’re numb with defeat. How will we face others when we are humiliated? How do we get back up when we are continually knocked down?
If you really want to become a learner, you need to change the way you look at your losses or mistakes and develop some important qualities that will help you respond to them. I hope this book will be of value to you, teaching you how to learn from your losses. Most of us need someone to help us figure out how to do that.
I believe that by developing the qualities below and practicing them in your own life, you can learn to move forward from mistakes and use what you learn to grow and succeed:
Humility: The Spirit of Learning
Reality: The Foundation of Learning
Responsibility: The First Step of Learning
Improvement: The Focus of Learning
Hope: The Motivation of Learning
Teachability: The Pathway of Learning
Adversity: The Catalyst for Learning
Problems: Opportunities for Learning
Bad Experiences: The Perspective for Learning
Change: The Price of Learning
Maturity: The Value of Learning
Saint Ignatius Loyola, one of the world’s greatest educators, once said that we learn only when we are ready to learn. Emmet Fox, noted twentieth-century spiritual leader, said that difficulties come to you at the right time to help you grow and move forward by overcoming them. “The only real misfortune,” he observed, “the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.”
If you’re like most people, you’ve suffered some loss in your life. Are you ready to learn from it? I hope you’ll join me in looking at how you can turn losses into opportunities, and how you can see failures from a different perspective. The ideas in this book can help you now and will continue to do so as you grow into young adulthood. Everybody messes up. You only need to learn how to move on from it.